PROFESSIONAL WOMEN’S HOCKEY LEAGUE (PWHL) PLAYOFF PRIMER: TORONTO AT MINNESOTA

Toronto leads Minnesota 2-0 in semifinal series

 

SAINT PAUL, MN (May 13, 2024) – The Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) Playoffs continue tonight with Game 3 of the best-of-five semifinal series between Minnesota and Toronto at 8:00 p.m. ET at Xcel Energy Center.

 

WHERE TO WATCH

 

Fans across Canada can watch the game live on TSN 1/5 channels, TSN.ca, and the TSN app. Fans in the United States can watch the game live on Bally Sports North and Wisconsin Extra, the Bally Sports app on mobile and tablet devices (including iOS and Android), ballysports.com when authenticated using pay-TV credentials, and on Bally Sports+, the standalone streaming subscription service available from Bally Sports. The game will also appear on Sportsnet Pittsburgh Plues, and will stream live on the Women’s Sports Network and the league’s YouTube channel. Daniella Ponticelli will have the play-by-play call alongside analyst Becky Kellar and Rob Pizzo reporting rinkside.

 

GAME 2 AT A GLANCE

 

Friday night saw the longest scoreless stretch from opening puck drop in PWHL history last 58:35 before Toronto forward Jesse Compher redirected a Renata Fast point shot into the back of Minnesota’s net. Hannah Miller added an empty net goal with 10 seconds left on the clock to secure a 2-0 victory and a commanding 2-0 series lead for Toronto. Kristen Campbell posted her second straight shutout with a 21-save performance opposite Maddie Rooney who turned aside 28 of 29 shots fired her way. Toronto has now won six straight games between regular-season and playoffs, with Minnesota extending their losing streak to seven games since the International Break.

 

CAN’T BEAT CAMPBELL

 

Toronto’s Kristen Campbell was named PWHL First Star of the Week after posting back-to-back shutouts and 47 total saves in the first two games of the series. The 26-year-old from Brandon, MB, led the PWHL with three shutouts during the regular-season and has not allowed a goal in 153:34. While this is the first case of consecutive shutouts in PWHL history, it’s not the first time Campbell has achieved the feat in her career. At the University of Wisconsin, the former Badgers backstop famously recorded three straight shutouts en route to a 2019 National Championship – capped by a 2-0 win over the University of Minnesota in the Frozen Four Final.

 

BACK ON HOME ICE

 

Minnesota returns to Xcel Energy Center for the first time since Apr. 27 after four road games to close the regular-season and open the playoffs. Before a 2-1 loss to Boston in their home finale, Minnesota won four straight games on home ice and outscored their opponents 16-6. Overall, they played to a home record of 5-2-2-3 for 21 points with 31 goals for and 21 against. Among their wins was a 3-1 victory over Toronto on Jan. 10 in the only other meeting between the clubs in this building.

 

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

 

Tonight’s game features two of the league’s mothers, including Minnesota captain Kendall Coyne Schofield and Toronto forward Natalie Spooner. Coyne Schofield gave birth to her son, Drew, on July 1, 2023, and returned to play her first PWHL game on January 3, 2024. Spooner gave birth to her son, Rory, on December 6, 2022. She returned to the ice to represent Canada at last year’s World Championship where she notably scored the team’s first goal on April 5, 2023. In celebration of Mother’s Day, Amy Heise and Lori Zumwinkle, mothers of Taylor Heise and Grace Zumwinkle, will lead the Xcel Energy Center crowd with the ceremonial “Let’s Play Hockey” cheer.

 

COYNE SCHOFIELD’S HOME COOKING

 

Minnesota captain Kendall Coyne Schofield tied for second in team scoring during the regular-season with 16 points, including six goals and 10 assists in 24 games. She led the team with eleven points scored at home and has an active home point streak of six games, including three multi-point performances totalling two goals and seven assists in that span. Through two playoff games, Coyne Schofield is third on the team with five shots on goal.

 

IIHF HALL OF FAME INDUCTION NEARING FOR DARWITZ

 

Minnesota general manager Natalie Darwitz will be among the eight inductees into the 2024 International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in a ceremony to be held near the end of the Men’s World Championship, currently underway in Czechia. Darwitz represented the U.S. at eleven straight events between 1999 and 2010, winning three gold medals and five silver at the Women’s World Championship and two silver and a bronze in three Olympics. In 55 games across those events, she had an astounding 43 goals and 83 points. Among her accolades, Darwitz wore the ‘C’ three times, was named to the All-Star Team four times, and was the IIHF Directorate Best Forward at the 2008 Women’s Worlds.

 

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

 

“We have to go out there and have fun and work hard. That’s cliche, but if we go out and focus on the first few shifts and get on them early we’ll be set up for success in the long run.” – Grace Zumwinkle, Minnesota

 

“It’s been tough but our players are resilient. They’ll keep battling through and that’s what we’ve got to have. It’s coming and we just have to keep doing the right things and keep doing the little things well.” – Ken Klee, Minnesota

 

“It’s going to be fast, physical, up and down the ice type hockey. The team that plays the best at the end of the day is going to win.” – Hannah Miller, Toronto

 

“I think Minnesota made some adjustments and came out a little bit stronger in the second game. We expect them to take another step in this game being at home in front of their crowd, and we hope to be able to match that, hopefully top that and find a way to come out victorious.” – Troy Ryan, Toronto

 

QUICK HITS

 

Toronto has now won five straight games against Minnesota since losing 3-1 at Xcel Energy Center on Jan. 10…Toronto has outscored Minnesota 19-6 in six total games including 6-0 in two playoff games…Shots are an even 157-157 in six total games…Minnesota has outshot Toronto 50-47 in two playoff games…Toronto is 4/15 and Minnesota is 0/14 on the powerplay in six head-to-head games this season…Both teams are 0/5 on the powerplay in this series…Hannah Miller (2G, 5A) is riding a five-game point streak…Renata Fast (3A) and Emma Maltais (1G, 1A) have produced offensively in both playoff games…Maddie Rooney (MIN) will make her second straight start of the series after stopping 28/29 in Game 2…Minnesota will start Game 3 with new forward lines including a rookie trio of former Gophers Abby Boreen, Taylor Heise, and Grace Zumwinkle…Toronto’s forward lines and defensive pairings remain the same as in the first two games of the series…The Minnesota Twins won a weekend series 2-1 over the Toronto Blue Jays including a 5-1 victory on Sunday afternoon.

 

PROJECTED LINEUPS

 

MINNESOTA:

Boreen | Heise | Zumwinkle
Coyne Schofield | Pannek | Cava
Křížová | Schepers | Butorac
Fleming | DeGeorge | Kunin
Brodt

 

Stecklein | Buchbinder
Channell | Jaques
Greco | Flaherty

 

Rooney | Hensley

 

Scratches: Bryant, Kremer

 

TORONTO:

 

Maltais | Nurse | Howard
Miller | Turnbull | Spooner
Connors | Compher | Willoughby
Bach | Vasko | Leslie
Cogan

 

Larocque | Fast
Munroe | Flanagan
Rougeau | Knowles

 

Campbell | Howe

 

Scratches: Jackson, Poulin-Labelle

 

OFFICIALS:

 

Referees: Jordan Deckard (Chicago, IL) – #9 and Jack Hennigan (Halton Hills, ON) – #44.
Linespersons: Greg Offerman (Madison, WI) – #95 and Kirsten Welsh – F (Conway, PA) – #64.
Standbys: Jared Cummins (Norwalk, IA) – #1 (R) and Sarah Buckner (Plymouth, MN) – #10 (L).

Follow the league on all social media platforms @thepwhlofficial plus team accounts @pwhl_minnesota and @pwhl_toronto.

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